Ranthambore National Park is one of the largest and most popular national parks in north India. It is most famous for its tigers as the chances of spotting the majestic cats in this jungle are high. The Park is named after the historic Ranthambhore fortress that is found within the Park. Ranthambore covers an area of 392 sq kms and is situated in the Sawai Madhopur district of southeastern Rajasthan, about 180kms from Jaipur.
The Government of India declared Ranthambhore to be a game sanctuary under the name of “Sawai Madhopur Game Sanctuary” in 1955. The Park was then appointed status as a Project Tiger Reserve in 1973. However, it was only in 1980 that Ranthambhore became a National Park. In 1991, the tiger reserve was enlarged to include two neighbouring sanctuaries, the Sawai Man Singh Sanctuary and the Keladevi Sanctuary.
Ranthambore National Park is located about 110kms northeast of Kota and 180kms southeast of Jaipur, in the Sawai Madhopur district of the state of Rajasthan in India. Bound to the north by the Banas River and to the south by the Chambal River, Ranthambore lies at the edge of a plateau. There are several lakes here and it is home to a variety of plants and animals. Ranthambore is also the site of one of the largest banyan trees in India.
Ranthambore is most sought out for its tigers. Until recently, there was a large population of these cats residing in the Park, however, their numbers have been affected by poaching in the recent years. Other cats like leopards, jungle cats, and civets also reside here. In addition, mammals like striped hyenas, chital, sambar deer, sloth bears, black bucks, and Indian foxes can be seen in the Park. Amongst reptiles, you'll find marsh crocodiles, desert monitor lizards, Ganga soft shelled turtles, Indian pythons, and North Indian flap shelled turtles amongst other species.
Ranthambore National Park is also home to around 270 species of birds owing to its many water bodies. Look for Indian grey hornbills, common kingfishers, bee-eaters, parakeets, Asian palm swifts, nightjars, sandpipers, great crested grebes, and wagtails amongst other species.